Thursday, September 11, 2014

Non-expert non-bipartisan non-elite Obama speech reaction

There were at least two people who spent the Obama ISIS speech splitting their sides laughing. Those two people are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Bashar al-Assad.

On what was is September 11 in most of the world, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi watched his organization be declared the new Islamic super bad guys whom America would have to go after. What better validation as the new Osama bin Laden could an aspiring bad guy ask for?

Then there's Bashar al-Assad. He learned that there will be US airstrikes against ISIS in Syria -- supposedly counterbalanced by support to the moderate Syrian opposition. But whereas airstrikes can happen at the click of a button, that support (now announced for the 4th time) will occur through layers of approvals and intermediaries. In other words, it's a lot less potent than air strikes. So al-Assad knows that his most dangerous foe is being attacked, with no counterweight, and he can go on television and complain that if only Syrians would unite behind him, he could deter the American aggressor.

The speech also contained a jarring transition from recounting of the toll of the new super bad guys to how well the economy is doing. Beheadings are up -- but so are the jobs numbers!

Finally, the Iraqi and Syrian people were told that, Inshallah, they'll be like Yemen and Somalia. We know those Google searches can be overwhelming, but did anyone at the White House at least narrow the Yemen search to recent news?